October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Hart of Embroidery |||| Decoding the Code Ever wonder what all of those letters and numbers mean in reference to a needle? Let's take a Canu 13:80EB16, NM:65, Size 9, DBxK5, SES, SERV 6 and decode it: • Canu 13:80EB16 is the manufacturer's item number. • NM:65 is the metric notation, indicating the measurement of the diameter of the blade. The number relates to the diameter of the needle in hundredths of a millimeter and is determined by multiplying the diameter of the blade by 100. To determine the diameter of the blade, divide the number (in this case, 65) by 100, and you will see that this blade is 0.65 in diameter. • Size 9 is the Singer number, recognized and used in the United States. It is just a number, not a measurement. We often see the needle size listed as, say, 65/9, which is the metric/Singer. Needles run from 60/8 to 110/18. • SES indicates a light ball point needle. • SERV 6 signifies that the needle has been modified in either the scarf or shank, which makes it different from the normal DBxK5. • DBxK5 is the system number which describes the length of the needle, the diameter of the shank, the distance from the butt to the eye, how the blade and scarf are made, and the distance from the eye to the tip of the needle. Needle heights may vary between systems and some have a flat-sided shaft. Understand the differences before switching; if you change from your machine's system to another, you may have to retime your machine. The point of the hook must pass through the scarf of the needle correctly, and a shorter or longer scarf found in another needle "system" can change that synchronization. A longer scarf may cause no stitching problems, but using a shorter scarf than the one used to time your machine can result in no stitches being formed at all. pw sewing long stitches or through thick backing. And there is significantly less drag across designs that have heavy thread coverage when using a needle with a shorter point. It makes a smaller hole than the 287WH, and so is suitable for knits and delicate fabrics and sewing with lighter tension. It helps with crisp, small lettering and creating clean edges, especially on tightly woven fabrics. It does deflect more easily than other needles, though, especially if the tension is too tight. The DBxK5 comes in both a sharp and ball point, and the eye of the needle is one size larger than the 287WH for better thread flow. The eye accommodates the standard #40-weight thread, as well as the thicker #30-weight and most metallic thread. It can be used on a wide range of fabrics and on special effects, from foam to appliqué, and is also a good needle for caps. The DBxK5 has a larger eye, which allows a square or weaver's knot to pass through easily, but also means a narrower anvil—less metal on either side of the eye—making it weaker, which can be a problem when used to sew though thick or bulky substrates. It has a larger groove to protect and guide the thread on the way to the eye, and a reinforced blade and longer shaft, which makes it easier to time the machine. This needle is more forgiving, as the window of opportunity for the hook to pass through the scarf is greater. The DBxK5 is shipped on most new machines and works with many applications, but the wide upper section of the reinforced blade makes it unsuitable for delicate detail and fabric. The DBx7ST works well with specialty threads, especially Mylar and metal-wrapped threads. Its rectangular eye is 1.8mm long, which offers more room from corner to corner—with no sharp turns—putting less stress on the thread and allowing metallics to move through the eye with less friction. It is slightly longer than the others in the DB series, but if the timing is set correctly, it should interchange well with the DBxK5. If the timing is too low, split and shredded thread will result. (Timing should be set close to the top of the eye or bottom of the scarf.) The DBx9ST has an eye twice the size of the standard, which is wonderful for thick threads, especially when the fabric can't take a needle with a greater diameter. It works well with #30-weight threads and crewel-like yarns. 50 | Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 50 Final Thoughts In addition to the standards, specialty needles such as punch pins, Venere needles, non-stick needles, titanium needles and wedge-point needles are worth a look when you are ready to try something new and different. Now that you know the assets of the different systems, perhaps you will recognize recurring challenges that can be overcome with a simple change of the needle. Remember that needles should be changed when the garments and threads change! The diameter of the blade is important, but remember that size also includes the eye and the width of the long groove on the front of the shaft—the place where the thread rests—and the type of the blade. Needle size is matched to thread size: thicker thread needs a thicker needle to punch a larger hole in the fabric, and it needs its larger groove. A thin thread in a large groove invites too much movement, which can result in looping and thread breaks. A thick thread in a grove too small will abrade, fray and break. Fabric should also be considered when choosing a needle: thinner fabrics require October 2013 9/17/13 9:12 AM

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